Venezuelans go to the polls on December 6 in the midst of great uncertainty about the future. GDP is expected to contract 10 percent this year while inflation may reach 200 percent next year, consumer product scarcity is exacerbated by tumbling oil income, and domestic crime and illicit drug flows contribute to high levels of insecurity. At the same time, politics in Venezuela have become acutely polarized, with both the opposition and the government highly concerned about their prospects in the upcoming National Assembly elections: the opposition believes the electoral playing field is not level, and the government faces record low public approval ratings.
On Monday, November 9, the Brookings Institution and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) hosted a discussion on Venezuela’s December 6 legislative elections and what they mean for the country’s future. The panel included Javier Corrales of Amherst College; Jennifer McCoy of Georgia State University; Francisco Monaldi of Rice University; and David Smilde of Tulane University. Brookings Senior Fellow Harold Trinkunas moderated the discussion, and John Walsh of WOLA provided introductory remarks.